At the holidays we do nice things for people we care about. A Canandaigua couple asked us to say thank you to a Teacher's Aide who helped their son. We surprise Melanie Nwaobia with a News 8 Golden Apple Award.
Melanie has been a Teacher's Aide for 6 years. She's worked with Noah Haus at Canandaigua Elementary the last three years. Noah's parents love Melanie. Heidi Haus says: "She just gives us peace of mind everyday. She's with him all day long. She knows everything there is to know about him to handle any situation that might be tricky for him. We're just so happy to have her as part of our life and part of his life."
The Haus' asked us to surprise Melanie. Kids, like Noah, have unique needs. The Principal of Canandaigua Elementary School, Dr. Julie Winston, says Teacher Aides are an important part of the team to make sure kids are successful. "You don't have to worry about the child. He's in great hands and he's able to focus on his educational program."
"Melanie is great" says Special Education Teacher Julie Glynn. "She needs to work with a lot of different professionals in the school district and she's very personable, she's very professional. That's very important for someone in her role. And she is a great communicator."
Melanie says she likes her job working with kids because "I get to help them. It's giving back. You give back to your community. And I get to see all the little steps that they get to make."
Melanie Nwaobia is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read the letter we got from the Haus family nominating her below.
Dear News 8,
Our 9-year old son, Noah, has autism. He has been integrated into the public school system since kindergarten. Now in 4th grade, Melanie Nwaobia has been his 1:1 aide for 3 years.
Melanie begins her day greeting Noah off the bus and spends her entire day with him to ensure safety, guidance, learning, transitioning and fun happen! Melanie is Noah's constant in a day of several classroom and therapy changes and transitions. She knows Noah so well as to when he needs her and when she can help him strive for more independence.
Every day for 3 years, Melanie fills out a full note about Noah's entire day, from arrival to departure, so we as parents of a child who doesn't have typical language and social skills, can know about his day. This helps us then talk to Noah about his day, what he did, worked on, successes and challenges.
In the age of technology, Melanie will often send us a picture of an activity Noah is involved in and/or a text about a success he had that day. It is wonderful to see these things as little successes are just huge for him, and Melanie knows that. She once wrote in one of Noah's notes, "I told Noah if it gets hard, that's ok, we are a team!" The dedication, love and respect that Melanie has for Noah is amazing. It is truly evident in all she does. Often paraprofessionals go unrecognized for their work and Melanie is one who needs to be recognized.
Knowing Melanie is with Noah puts our minds at ease every day. Melanie requested to stay with Noah this year for her job assignment as we wanted her to stay as well. Melanie is a true professional with our Noah at the forefront of her mind during her work day. She makes Noah's day safe, educational, social and fun and he would not be in the same place in the his areas of development without her. Please consider her as a recipient for the Golden Apple Award. We would like to be present at the time of the presentation if you decide to choose her, as Noah would need help explaining how he feels about Melanie. You can see it in his eyes how much he cares for her and trusts her. Thank you.
Heidi and Gary Haus, Canandaigua